Filter 4: Effect
…or what will happen if
The first two filters — hardwiring and imprinting — are memory filters. They allow you to weigh a message to your inherited or acquired knowledge. The third filter relates to the present; what surrounds the message? The fourth filter is a precious filter; it can contribute to success or ruin.
The ‘future’ affects the way you decide, hence the way you evaluate a message. You know very well that all decisions you make will have an effect. This forethought sways the way you perceive and interpret a message. If buying an expensive car means getting into debt, you will perceive the purchase differently than if you are wealthy. People are becoming increasingly aware of the vast interconnections of their decisions, of the impact or effect of their decisions on others.
The unfortunate aspect of this filter is that it is often irrational. We will start out with a cartesian evaluation of risk and then suddenly, without justifiable reason, we will err on the side of risk. Some call it the ‘go for it’ syndrome. In gambling it’s the factor that makes you gamble away your life’s savings with one roll of the dice. Many movies have been made of the impetuous one-night meet to marriage fantasy.
While we are not the only animals who make decisions based on their effect (some store food, others make spare tools) we are the one who spends the most energy doing so. Understanding this effect-based process plays a major role in effective communications analysis.